SBAF DAC Talk II

Discussion in 'Digital: DACs, USB converters, decrapifiers' started by Maxx134, Jul 22, 2018.

  1. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I've only seen the level two and KTE reviewed. Is the "base" level 1 still pretty excellent?
     
  2. Taguro

    Taguro Almost "Made"

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    I can only give impressions on the Pontus II as I've had one before. The Pontus has quite a colored sound to it, like applying a sepia filter to your music. I think it tries too hard to recreate that vinyl sound, which smudges leading edges too much. That said, it makes for a relaxing listen and if you're looking for that particular flavor, it might be for worth it for you.

    As for the Spring, I can't give a direct impression, but I use a May right now. Assuming the two DACs share the same house sound, the Spring should be a more neutral flavor compared to the Pontus. As compared to the Pontus, it has a more "dry" or "modern hi-fi" sound. The Holo DACs sound best in NOS mode, and that's a whole 'nother discussion (OS vs NOS), which is a very real thing. The Holo DACs also benefit from upsampling, which you can use software (HQPlayer, Audirvana, etc) or hardware (Chord Mscaler) for. That is not to say that using the Holo DACs as is will sound bad, but if you are looking to squeeze that last bit of performance from them, NOS + external upsampling is the way to go.

    However, out of the 3 choices, assuming you are willing to go the extra mile for improvement, I think the Spring has the highest ceiling.
     
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  3. Baten

    Baten Friend

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    I think the KTE upgrades made a lot more sense in the Holo spring 1/2. On III, I'm really not sure I'd even bother. Unless I'd buy used and found a good deal on one.
     
  4. jexby

    jexby Posole Prince

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    I can't place a "value" on KTE upgrades in Spring1,2, but a huge value of the KTE upgrade in Spring3 is the USB module.
    "KTE Spring3 is ONLY level to have the enhanced USB module as found in our L2 and KTE May dac. Has titanis 2.0 circuit."

    if USB is your cable delivery into a Spring3 DAC, KTE version should be strongly considered.
     
  5. TonyNewman

    TonyNewman Validated by Tyll removing Utopia from WOF

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    Golden Ears makes a point of the USB connection in his review - if you get the KTE version you won't need a DDC, otherwise you will. If you already have a decent DDC, then the issue kinda goes away - at least as far as the USB connection goes.
     
  6. Slade01

    Slade01 Almost "Made"

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    I just had the Holo Spring 1 KTE version and it was still pretty excellent for its going used price. It was comparable to the Spring 2 Base to me, in my opinion. But if you went with the Holo Audio route - still hands down I2S is the best way.
     
  7. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    usb is my delivery method, so I might rule out the holo audio as I'm not going to be doing any DDC conversion. I might have to rule that out in favor of the pontus Ii or R26 for my use case.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2023
  8. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    I dislike Denafrips DACs. Despite being R2R, the tone and timbre in the midrange just doesn’t sound convincing and seem to be not great with microdynamics.
     
  9. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    okay, noted. I'm appreciating all the info, guys.
     
  10. Baten

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    I2S is kinda overstated imo, okay sure why not if you have a DDC already but otherwise why bother when good spdif or aes or usb when well implemented goes such a long way..
     
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  11. Slade01

    Slade01 Almost "Made"

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    Absolutely. I suppose the Holo Spring 1 is a more isolated case -- it had a poor usb implementation, and I2S in this instance was the best sounding on that iteration of the spring. But I agree, I usually am for the convenience and by and large go for the SPDIF/AES/USB first - it definitely goes a long way.
     
  12. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I decided to make a more sane fiscal decision and ordered the Soekris Dac2451. From all the input here it seemed like a happy medium between the Yggdrasil and less expensive dacs like the Aries II and Bifrost 2/64. Besides, I'm only running a Verum one mk ii (which is plenty capable sonically) and an unmodded HD650.
     
  13. internethandle

    internethandle Almost "Made"

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    Be interested to hear your impressions. People can get equivocal-ish about the 2541 vs. OG BF2, IIRC. Kind of comes down to sonic preferences, I think, but they are supposed to present similarly. The 2541 is difficult/near impossible to beat for discrete R2R in its price range, whatever the case may be. Enjoy.
     
  14. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    I'm very familiar with the schiit multi-bit sound, having owned Gungnir mb A1 and 2 and a BF2, so it will cool to check out my first R2R dac.
     
  15. caute

    caute Lana Del Gayer than you

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    which did you like best? i had a1, and i liked it. i don't think a2 is to my taste. i *think* i would like bf2 og. want to keep something solid state as a back up DAC, but wondering if that should be another gungnir or the bf2.
     
  16. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    definitely the G A1 and the BF2. The Gungnir A2 was probably the most resolving, but slightly bright with my setup at the time (Jot, Ampsandsound Kenzie).
     
  17. TheIceman93

    TheIceman93 El pato-zorro

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    Has anyone here ever heard the Black Ice Audio Glass FX tube DAC (formerly sold under Jolida branding)?

    I see them mentioned from time to time on other forums, unusually with high praise, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it discussed here.

    Burr-Brown DAC chips and tubes, that’s all I really know about it. Just curious if anyone has ever heard it.

    https://blackiceaudio.com/daccd-players/p/black-ice-glassfx-dac
     
  18. Pharmaboy

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    Big news for moi on the DAC front. Have a used Metrum Onyx inbound. I have 2 different systems in the same room, will try it in both systems.

    I've had exclusively NOS DACs for past 3-4 years, and Metrum (at least, the new Metrum models) have been on my radar for some time. So I'm looking forward to this...
     
  19. rlow

    rlow A happy woofer

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    Whatever you do, don’t use the USB input.
     
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  20. Pharmaboy

    Pharmaboy Friend

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    That's good advice with a great many otherwise high-end DACs.

    FYI, I never use USB. For years I used SPDIF converters with high end coax cables to the DAC(s). These days I use DDCs with coax cables.

    I'll get a 110 ohm AES cable for the Onyx, the first DAC I've ever owned that had an AES input.

    (thanks for good advice!)
     

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